Some would say that selecting a barrel of bourbon is all fun. It is a very enjoyable experience. Going to a barrel warehouse with a master distiller to thief a barrel is a true sensory experience. Even sitting with a group with samples pulled from barrels from a distillery too far away to drive, is a great way to learn about what styles each barrel represents. Not all barrel samples are a taste treat. Finding a barrel that sings is a wonderful way to pick a barrel. And thus, the challenge is finding the barrel that we feel represents our “house” style and is atypical when compared to the commercial versions selected by the master distillers.
Westport Whiskey & Wine’s “house” style relies on great aromatics, from fruit, cream, vanilla and wood spices. The flavor is rich, lush and not astringent. It may be robust and warm, but never harsh. When splashed the flavors should open-up all the more. We believe that the selections below truly represent our house style, and great values, too.
CURRENT SELECTIONS (09.30.21)
The aroma is a bit tight, however, the toasted oak gives a hint as to what to expect. It has a bit of smoke and the desired hint of vanilla. The first taste is spicy, sweet and toasty. It has a very pleasant mouthfeel, warm, toasty, long and lingering. This will be great fall bourbon to sip outdoors.
Aromas of vanilla, caramel, green apple and spice. It is sweet on entry with a nice, round, spicy flavor throughout. The finish is long, warm and creamy. Tasty!
Selected from a sample kit back in May 2021 (we do miss going to the distillery to select barrels). This sample was clearly the one for us, it fills the nose with loads of spice, ranging from classic baking spices with hints of fresh herbals, that blossoms into fruit and hints of toasty oak. It is sweet and creamy from start to finish and the overall taste is supported by the toasted oak flavor, giving it a rich complexity. It finishes long and toasty.
Picked back late April of this year, when the barrel was not quite 2 years old. We elected to wait for it to age into the Straight category and it was worth the wait. This is spicy, dark & well-balanced. Long and lingering finish. Enjoy!
It is amazing the difference in proof makes when selecting a barrel. Yellowstone offers three different finished proofs with 115 being the highest (so far). Think toasted marshmallow, roasted on an open campfire, a bit smoky with hints of char. The entry is bold, spicy with a rich, chewy middle and a very long, warm, peppery finish.
Loads of red fruit mixed with vanilla and honey jump out the glass and commands your attention. The entry is sweet in keeping with the aroma, then it bursts into a bold richness that yields to a spicy, raisin-like, long finish. At a 108.2 proof it doesn’t show any signs of heat, just that comfortable warm, Kentucky Hug. Enjoy.
This is an especially interesting barrel, yes it is a high-rye mashbill (75C 21R 4MB) distilled at MGP and it was aged in Mississippi at the Cathead Distillery. The barrel entry date is 16B29. While it was billed as 5yr and 3 months old when we tasted it, it’s barreling date makes it a “Leap” barrel and technically it has only celebrated 2 birthdays. For such a “young” selection it has a wonderfully sweet aroma, full of vanilla, cream and brown sugar. While the entry is a bit woody at first it quickly yields to a spicy, sweet, round mouthfeel. It has a bit of a smokey, yet, long and lovey finish.
Cinnamon spice and everything nice! Great aroma with hints of toasted oak. It is complex with elements of the woodiness of the barrel, yet spicy, sweet with a bold peppery finish.
Grass Widow Bourbon comes from Two James Spirits, the first distillery to open in Detroit, Michigan since prohibition. With the help of distiller David Pickerell, Grass Widow, named for a regional pre-Prohibition whiskey brand, is a sourced high-rye bourbon mash bill (36% rye, 60% corn, 4% barley) blend that was aged in new oak, then given a finish in ex-Madeira casks.
Aromas of toffee with hints of butterscotch that has hints of cinnamon. It is sweet on entry with a nice vanilla and slight cereal grain note. It is rich in the middle and spicy on the finish. For 119.2 proof, this is really smooth.
The aroma is the first thing that grabs you. It is fruity with loads of toasted caramel. The flavors of sweet vanilla indicates that this slightly over 6 year bourbon is something special. Vanilla gives way to toasty, spicy flavor, slightly drying yet with a long warm finish.
Weighing in at a hefty 125.6 proof, but it quickly spins off in the glass with a little help. There is a nice, toasted oak aroma with a bit of corn pudding and hints of brown sugar. The entry is sweet and quickly goes to spicy, barrel flavors. A second sip shows the depth with a bit of red fruit, cream, cinnamon, caramel and a smokiness that adds a great overall flavor. This really shines with some water, the sweet, creamy vanilla flavors jump out and it is at once relaxed and easy to drink.
Three Chord is a bourbon from Kentucky, Tennessee & Indiana, that is batched (blended) and aged in Michigan. This selection is a bit over 5 years old and weight is at 117 proof. There is a bit of heat in the initial aroma, which also shows fruit (orange peel), vanilla, hints of brown sugar and toasted oak. Nice sweet entry, with a bold spicy middle and long toasted oak with a bit of pepper.
Grander 14yr Panama Rum, WW&W Single Barrel, 129.2 proof, 750ml $69.99
This 12 year rum spent an additional 2 years in Heaven Hill rye barrels, giving a subtle earthy spice to rich aromas of brown sugar and caramel. A warm entry leads to sweet, smooth barrel tannins with vanilla and a hint of mint on the finish.
Rolling Fork, 8yr Foursquare Rum, Finished 10 months in a Weller Barrel, Single Barrel, WW&W Selection, 103.6 proof, 750ml, $86.99
This was distilled in Barbados by the Foursquare Rum Distillery. The aroma is filled with baking spices and rum soaked raisins. It enters sweet with a rich round mouthfeel and tons of vanilla. There is a great flavor of toasted oak that elevates the fruit and spice. The finish is sweet, long with a bite of pepper. It is something to savor.